How to Choose - Internet or Traditional IT?

October 19, 2015 3 mins read
How to Choose - Internet or Traditional IT?

In the last few years, the IT scene has been brimming full of excitement. Terms such as 'internet', 'financing', 'A-B-C schemes', 'billions' and 'stock options' have constantly been on the minds and lips of IT staff. Due to this new trend, many IT staff in traditional industries, whether they are part of the executive ranks, or involved in software development and testing, have chosen to set their sights on the thriving internet startups.

Over the last few days, I have encountered several professionals who have moved from large software companies funded by foreign investors to small internet companies, but then after a few months, decide to return to the world of traditional IT.

The main factors that influenced their decision to return to the traditional IT domain are: high degree of stability of traditional IT companies, well-developed nature of project processes, as well as a better balance between personal and professional lives. Taking into account the professional responsibilities of IT staff, I would like to give those working within IT, some advice on how to decide between a role in a web start-up or an established IT company.

In general, internet companies place a huge emphasis on efficiency and variation. It is corporate culture will be highly efficient, liberal and hectic and employees will receive an intense amount of motivation from their superiors. As online financing takes the world by storm, various new internet products are on the verge of being releases. Internet companies often have demanding cycles for product development; employees within these companies are likely to be obliged to work overtime with some companies even choosing to sacrifice weekends. Meanwhile, a large number of start-up companies are dependent on their investors; should these investors pull the plug on a project or a product, the entire team of entrepreneurs will take a blow. Furthermore, the products developed by internet companies tend to cater more to the end user; the technology they use is more cutting-edge and well-developed products are capable of being apart of growing trend. These types of companies will, in addition to placing an emphasis on a strong technological foundation, also pay greater attention to a persons’ sense of entrepreneurship and their thoughts on start up products.

In comparison to internet companies, traditional IT industry attributes a greater importance to company stability as well as the maximising skills and roles. . Whether it's a large-scale software development company or an IT product development department within an enterprise, traditional IT companies benefit from decades of experience and growth. As there is a greater degree of stability and order in the way that these companies plan projects and develop processes , as well as the way in which they introduce and promote new products, working overtime is rarely necessary, and the pace of the work is relatively steady. Additionally, although they cannot provide stock options, traditional IT companies have better social security, public reserve funds, and employee care schemes. On the other hand, traditional software companies generally place a greater emphasis on the intensive cultivation of skills throughout the development process. This may make certain employees feel that their work lacks variations and challenges.

When making a choice between online companies and traditional IT companies, it is crucial that professionals take the time to get to know themselves and determine exactly what they want to get out of their careers. Compatibility of skills? Professional development? A high salary? Or more time to spend with their families?

In order to avoid making the wrong choice, I ask that candidates listen to their hearts, as well as getting to know themselves better.

Alan Li's picture
Operations Director, Greater China
ali@morganmckinley.com